Review: (tata) Bata!

Can you think of any brand for leather shoes? An Indian with ‘need-based’ shopping habits won’t be able to think beyond Bata. But from my experience with Bata products over the last couple of years, I think it is high time we start looking for other brands. Here is my story of a 1500 rs pair of shoes that lasted less than 6 months – and I didn’t play football with them!

My dad had purchased a pair from the Flexology range of shoes at Bata’s Goregaon (W) outlet in April. The looks of the shoes was great, and so was the price – Rs.1499 to be precise. Me & my dad are both very fond of shoes, and always take real care of the shoes. The shoes were purchased for a marriage and then were kept aside during the monsoons.After some time when using it at work, I realized that whenever I walked over little water, my socks would get wet. Initially I thought that the shoe had a little opening in the front from where water kept seeping in. One day, out of curiosity, I turned the shoe over to find that the soul of the shoe had cracked, or rather sheared, right through. And guess what, same was the case with the other one. This had caused great stress on the sides resulting in wrinkles on the texture. Have a look at the pre-repair photos!

Bata Flexology: Pre-repair
Bata Flexology: Pre-repair

I wasted no time in searching for the bill. On studying it, I realized that since it is over 75 days, I was not eligible for replacement. I went to the bata website to lodge a complaint. The reply was very prompt, and I appreciated it. They had asked for details of the purchase and the article number that is unique to each shoe. They suggested that I take it to the store I bought from and that they would do the needful.

On reaching the store, I was told that Bata had instructed them to either repair the soul or give me a waiver of Rs.750 on another purchase. I literally got mad! I had purchased shoes worth Rs.1500, and in less than 6 months they were half the value. Moreover, I did not want to spend anymore on Bata shoes. I went ahead with the repair, and was told that it would take a week. As expected, there was a delay but I got the shoes. Have a look at the post-repair photos!

Bata Flexology: Post-repair
Bata Flexology: Post-repair

The condition of the shoes had further worsened. The mending had made the shoes look very strange. Moreover, changing the soul required that the body of the shoe be cut to fit the new soul. The so-called leather had already started shredding. I pointed this out at the store and they told me that this is not even leather. When I buy Rs.1500 leather shoes from Bata, I believe that I am getting the best leather. And now someone is telling me that its not leather! In no time, the surface had started dropping off, exposing the inner canvas.

I am extremely displeased with the quality of the product. Quality is central to everything – be it a pen, T-shirt, car or software. I had used the shoes with extreme care, the body is evident of the fact. However, shearing of the soul at the same place for the pair indicates nothing but poor quality of manufacture. Due to the shearing, the rexine near the crack had wrinkled, after which I stopped wearing the shoes. But this is not the first time with Bata. My mother had the same shoes with her shoes she used for her walk. For my whole life I have owned Bata formal shoes – not worn but owned; that’s my love for my shoes. But the last couple of years, the quality has gone to the dogs. You should have seen the inside of my shoes, the material had literally eroded.

For years, Indians have known nothing besides Bata. Its a 100 year old international brand that has been trusted for generations. Bata should be check the kind of distrust they are cultivating in customers, who know no other brand. I don’t know how serious they are about customer feedback; but if I were them, I would be deeply concerned. As a customer, I really do not see a reason to continue the loyalty, because if a product purchased at a non-discounted price of Rs.1499, does not last a quarter and fractures, its time people move on.

The purpose of this post is not to get refund or a new article, and their waiver does not excite me at all. A genuine apology and replacement of the shoes, that I love so much, with the same model is all I want. For the curious, I still have the shoes packed in a bag.

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